The moment a teenager chooses the field of study he will follow in university is one of the most defining moments of his life. It should be a decision taken with a clear mind and only after carefully analyzing all the alternatives. In this decision process, schools should also participate, given that they have information about the characteristics of each student. However, they should encourage students to choose fields of study that are related to these characteristics, and not just fields that will result in lucrative careers.
While it's true that the motto "Follow your dreams, and you will succeed in life" alone isn't great advice, given that a lot of people that choose vocational careers (arts, sports, etc) have problems paying their bills, due to these careers not being as valued by society, choosing a field of study just because it will allow a student to be rich is also not a good advise. Students should follow careers where they are happy, or at least not unsatisfied. A lot of medical studies point to a direct relationship between happiness in the workplace, and the probability of having heart problems, and other complications. This could be explained by the extra stress provoked by the sensation of not having a purpose, besides money.
Additionally, choosing a field os study that allows a student to have a lucrative career, will not guarantee that this student will actually achieve it. If all the students that choose business can become a successful businessman, we would have more Bill Gates, and not as many bankrupcies in small/medium businesses like we have today. The same can be applied to other careers. Every year thousands of students end Law School, but only a small percentage will have a lucrative career. This happens because students have different vocations. Some excel in writing. Others are great with numbers. Some can communicate very easily. Each human being is unique, so, it would be a mistake that each student is prone to follow a "lucrative" career.
Finally, how can we define "lucrative"? Do we just look at the monetary factor? Should happiness also be part of the equation? Should comfort have a word in it? Maybe if we don't look only at the money, every student will have a different notion about what is a "lucrative" career. If this is the case, which I strongly believe so, there will be a large gap between what a school thinks is the best for a student, and what the student thinks. And for this, schools should avoid encouraging students to choose fields of study that will prepare them for lucrative careers, because they will be giving advice that is based on how they value life, and not how the student values it.
If society defines a successful career as a career where you can achieve a large bank account, maybe we found one of the reasons why the number of mental issues has been increasing in the past decades. Maybe we should redefine how we see life, and that should start in schools by encouraging students to follow a field of study that is can maximize their qualities and what they feel comfortable with, instead of just aiming for the career that is more "lucrative". More than being rich, it's important to live a life without feeling tied to a job. As Jorge Amado said: "Freedom is like the Sun. It's the biggest gift in the world".
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